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Sports clubs could lose €3.5m if pubs banned from sponsorship - VFI

The Vintners Federation of Ireland says it believes a ban on alcohol sponsorship would also apply to local parish pubs.

Image: Nick Potts/PA Archive

IRELAND’S SPORTS CLUBS could lose out on €3.5 million in vital sponsorship funds if the Government bans alcohol sponsorship of sports events, the group representing Irish publicans has claimed.

Ahead of its annual conference in Trim today, the Vintners Federation of Ireland has warned of a major impact on local sporting groups if the proposed ban on alcohol sponsorship is applied more broadly, and includes pubs as well as manufacturers.

The association says around half of its members sponsor local sports teams, with a total spend of almost €3.5 million each year.

“We have no clue what’s likely to be in the legislation, if we get legislation,” the federation’s chief executive Padraig Cribben told TheJournal.ie.

“All we’re doing is pointing out from the research that there is a considerable amount of money pumped into the local community,” he said, saying such sponsorship was usually seen as “a contribution to local endeavour” rather than a marketing exercise.

Cribben said the VFI was not taking a stance on the issue – but merely pointing out that any ban on alcohol sponsorship of sports events and associations could mean financial disaster for clubs who had become reliant on pub sponsorship.

“For all of these organisations, will they be able to replicate or replace that sponsorship? We don’t know the answer to that, but we suspect that they won’t,” he said.

Cribben said it was his personal opinion, however, that legislation banning alcoholic sponsorship was unlikely in the short term.

Former junior health minister Róisín Shortall had supported a ban on alcohol sponsorship – but the plans were opposed by Leo Varadkar, the cabinet minister responsible for sport, whose support would be necessary for a ban to be put in place.

Read: There is no replacement for alcohol sponsorship, warn sports chiefs

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Gavan Reilly

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